STAMFORD, CT: The WWE will conduct various anti-bullying efforts next month through its “Be a STAR” initiative.
The company, with a team of 15 employees in its internal PR and public affairs departments, will reach out to consumers through social media channels and live events. It is also making free anti-bullying curriculum that meets national educational standards available for teachers on BeAStarAlliance.org. The company is not working with an agency on the initiative.
BeAStarAlliance.org includes videos and resources that explain how young adults and children can deal with being bullied. It also links to the alliance's 47 partners, such as Girl Scouts of America, Kidpower, and Stomp Out Bullying.
Throughout October, which the nonprofit Pacer Center has promoted as “National Bullying Prevention Month” since 2006, the organization will also a number of special events. On October 12, the WWE will encourage consumers to pledge to put an end to bullying. That same week, it will visit several schools in Mexico to promote awareness of bullying.
On October 18, it will also hold the “Be a Star Summit” in New York, where it will bring together alliance members to discuss best practices for stopping bullying and promoting tolerance among today's youth.
Students can also sign up online to start their own chapters. When they do so, the WWE will send them a toolkit in the mail that includes a book bag, friendship bracelet, “how to get started” guide, member certificates, and a resources DVD.
The WWE is also reaching out to mommy bloggers and parenting websites to spread the word about the initiative.“Bullying has become a worldwide epidemic, and the goal is to eventually eradicate it,” said Rob Zimmerman, SVP of corporate communications, media relations, and public affairs at the WWE. “Is that a realistic goal? Probably not, but at least we can bring attention to the problem and try to lessen the severity [by bringing down the incident numbers, as well as explain how people should treat other people]."
WWE wrestlers are also addressing children through live events and videos to get the anti-bullying theme out and reinforce that they are just acting.
“We do more than 300 live events a year, so each week we're in a different city,” said Zimmerman. “The goal is to line up a school visit a week, so our [wrestling personalities] can come in, spread the message, and get the word out.”
The WWE formed the STAR Alliance, which stands for Show Tolerance and Respect, with The Creative Coalition in April. Zimmerman added that the organization has run CSR programs for years, including work with the Make-A- Wish Foundation and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“We wanted to do something new and fresh this year, and you read almost every week about some kid that's being bullied in schools or online,” he said. “We reach more than 3 million kids in the United States alone on a weekly basis and more than 15 million people a week, so we thought our platform would be good to spread the anti-bullying message.”
Zimmerman maintained that even though WWE performances appear to be about fighting and violence, they are “scripted entertainment” with conflicts resolved in the ring [that have predetermined endings]. He added that most children see more violence on TV crime shows and all of the TV content has been PG since 2008 by network standards.